Wednesday, December 31, 2008

No One Celebrated

The Confederates took the advantage at the Battle of Stones River in Tennessee [aka the Battle of Murfreesboro] by attacking first. At dawn on December 31st 1862 while many of the Union men where having breakfast, two of Lieutenant General William J Hardee’s and one of Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk’s divisions strongly assaulted the right wing under Union Major General Alexander M McCook. By ten that morning the Rebels had managed to push the Union troops back about three miles, almost to the Nashville Pike. Only the units fighting tenaciously under Brigadier General Philip H Sheridan and Brigadier General James S Negley keep the battle from being a total Federal rout. At noon along the Nashville Pike troops under Major General Thomas Crittenden used infantry and artillery to push back a Confederate attack. The noise of battle was so loud that soldiers had to put cotton in the ears. As night came on the fighting died off. No one celebrated the New Year that night, as the two armies stayed in position for the next day.

Worth looking at
Stones River Bloody Winter Tennessee

Personal Recollections And Experiences Concerning The Battle Of Stone River (1889)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Limited Freedom

President Abraham Lincoln held a cabinet meeting on December 30th 1862 at which he gave members a copy of the Draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. He asked them to offer suggestions for the document. The first part of the Proclamation was issued on September 22, 1862, outlining the intent that became law 100 days later on January 1, 1863.

You might also like to read these

The Emancipation Proclamation: Three Views (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War)

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Last Issue

The last issue of “The Liberator” was published today December 29th 1865 by William Lloyd Garrison. Garrison felt his goal of the “extermination of chattel slavery” had succeeded.

William Lloyd Garrison born December 12th 1805 in Newburyport,MA, was a journalist, social reformer and abolitionist. In 1831 he founded a weekly newspaper in Boston,MA; “The Liberator” dedicated to anti-slavery information. The paper had a slow start with less than 400 subscribers in its second year. “The Liberator" did grow in numbers and influence over the three decades leading up to the Civil War. The last issue; number 1,820, was published December 29,1865. Mr. Garrison wrote in this last issue, “The object for which the Liberator was commenced—the extermination of chattel slavery—having been gloriously consummated, it seems to me specially appropriate to let its existence cover the historic period of the great struggle; leaving what remains to be done to complete the work of emancipation to other instrumentalities”.

Also worth a look

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Don't Split Your Troops

In Jefferson Co, TN in December 29th 1863 the minor battle of Mossy Creek occurred. While camped at Mossy Creek and Talbott‘s Station, Union Brigadier General Samuel D Sturgis received a report that Confederate Cavalry had set up camp to the south near Dandridge. Sturgis sent a portion of his troops out towards Dandrige, and just a short time after they departed Major General William T Martin the commander of Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s cavalry attacked the remaining force at Talbott’s Station at about 9 am.

The Union troops fell back slowly toward Mossy Creek, and sent messages to the force that was heading to Dandridge to return promptly. The Rebel continued to advance on Mossy Creek and the Federal troops there. About 3pm the force from Dandridge returned to Mossy Creek and turned the tide of the battle, driving the Confederates back towards Talbott’s Station and Panther Creek. The Union did not pursue that night. General Martin retreated from the area and spent the rest of the winter in the Morristown area.

For more reading

Friday, December 26, 2008

First Nurse

On this date in 1862 the first official female nurses; four Nuns who volunteered were serving on the US Navy hospital ship the “Red Rover”.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve and the Klan

Right after the Civil War ended on December 24th 1865 in Pulaski,TN six Confederate veterans created the original Ku Klux Klan. The name made up from the Greek word kyklos meaning circle, and was just one of many secret societies of the time. Since most of the Klan’s members were veterans of the late war, they used military structure within the organization. The main purpose of this early Klan was to resist Reconstruction. It was put out of being in the 1870’s when President Ulysses S Grant saw passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1871; aka the Ku Klux Klan Act.

For more information

Women of the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Capture The Flag

Richard Conner was awarded to Medal Honor for his bravery in action. He was born December 23rd 1843. As a 17 year old resident of Burlington, NJ he enlisted in the 6th NJ Volunteer Infantry as a Private in Co “F”. His unit saw service at the Battle of Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, and Gettysburg. But it was during the Battle of Second Bull Run, that he performed his act of bravery. The flag of his regiment having been left behind during a retreat, Richard and a companion volunteered to return under heavy fire, were he secured the flag and brought it back off the field. After the war was over he moved to Philadelphia, where 35 years latter on September 17th 1897 he was recognized for his bravery with the Medal of Honor. He died in PA and is buried in North Cedar Hill Cemetery.

Other reading

Monday, December 22, 2008

Colored Troops Organized

The Second Cavalry of the United States Colored Troops were organized on December 22nd 1863 at Fort Monroe, Virginia.

The 2nd Cavalry of the United States Color Troops saw service at Fort Monroe, Portsmouth and Williamsburg, Virginia through May 1864. They were present at the capture of Bermuda Hundred, and for the siege of Petersburgs and Richmond.

After the end of hostilities they were ordered to City Point, Virginia, where they sailed for Texas, and saw duty on the Rio Grande and other points around Texas until February 1866. The unit was mustered out of service February 12th 1866.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

And So It Began

Today, December 20th 1860 was the true beginning of the Civil War. As Charleston South Carolina voted to be the first state to seceded from the Union.

Once if was assured that Abraham Lincoln had won the presidency, the Governor of South Carolina called for a convention to discuss secession. Support for the Union was almost nil, one of the lone supporters allegedly said; our state is to small to be a nation and to large to be an insane asylum. Two day after passing the Ordinance of Secession on December 22nd 1860 the state sent commissioners to Washington, DC to negotiate for the release of forts and other federal property within the state. During the next six weeks, six more southern states joined South Carolina.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The First General Prisoner

James Jay Archer the first general captured from the Army of Northern Virginia was born on December 19th 1817.

James Jay Archer was the son of John and Ann [Stump] Archer and was born December 19th 1917 in Bel Air, MD. In 1835 he graduated from Princeton, and than studied law at the University of Maryland. When the Mexican-American War began he volunteered for service in the United States Army. He was cited for bravery brevetted to the rank of Major. After the war he return to his law practice, but decided in 1855 to re-join the army as a Captain in the 9th United States Infantry.

At the beginning of the Civil War Archer was stationed at Fort Walla Walla, Washington. He resigned his commission on May 14th 1861 and joined the Confederate Army. Although he was a native of Maryland, he became the Colonel of the 5th Texas Infantry. Archer was promoted on June 3rd 1862 to Brigadier General and given command of regiments from Tennessee. These units would be joined by others to form the “Light Division” under General AP Hill.

At Gettysburg Archer’s health was deteriorating. His brigade was now part of Major General Henry Heth’s division. On the first day of fighting, after attacking Union Major General John F Reynolds first Corps, and than being pushed back across Willoughby Run, the sick and exhausted Archer took cover in a thicket, where Union Private Patrick Maloney of the 2nd Wisconsin took Archer prisoner. This made him the first General to be captured from the Army of Northern Virginia since Robert E Lee took over command. He was sent to Fort Delaware along with his younger brother and aide-de-camp Robert Harris Archer. James Archer was eventually sent to Johnson’s Island in Ohio on the coast of Lake Erie, where he was held for about a year. He was exchanged in the late summer of 1864, reporting on August 9th to the Army of Tennessee. It was during the Siege of Petersburg that his health caused a collapse after the Battle of Peebles’ Farm. He died October 24th 1864 in Richmond, VA and is buried in Hollywood Cemetery.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Military Man

General Charles Griffin a Union general was born on December 18th 1825 in Granville, Ohio.

He went to Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and graduated 23rd out of a class of 38 from West Point in 1847. He served with the 2nd US Artillery during the Mexican-American War.

General Griffin formed and than led the “West Point Battery”; Battery D of the 5th US Artillery at the First Manassa. He married Sallie Carroll of Maryland in December of 1861. He was leading men during the Peninsula Campaign when he was promoted to Brigadier General. Although he had a hard time getting along with his superiors, his leadership abilities continued to bring him promotions. He was given the honor by Ulysses S Grant to receive the arms and colors of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox. After the Civil War was over he commanded the Reconstruction in Texas with headquarters in Galveston. He succumbed to Yellow Fever in Texas September 15th 1867, he is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington DC.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Before the Music Made the City

On the cold icy winter afternoon of December 16th 1864 Union troops led by General George H Thomas handed a crushing defeat to Confederate forces in Nashville, TN. The Battle of Nashville had begun the day before December 15th 1864, after two weeks of waiting for good weather and reinforcements to arrive.

The first Union troops, led by Major General James Steedman, set out to hit the Confederates before daylight on the 15th. The Confederate were battered by dark when the fighting ended for the day, but General John B Hood was still confident. Hood placed his line of resistance along Shy’s and Overton’s Hills to prepare for the next days fighting.

The first days fighting had been a matter of overwhelming numbers of Union forces. The Union spent most of the morning of the 16th moving into position. The plan was to hit the Confederates on two fronts. It took until about 4pm before the Confederates on Shy’s Hill, under attack from three side broke and ran for the rear. With darkness and a heavy rain falling, Hood collected what was left of his troops and withdrew southward. This was the beginning of the end for the fighting in the Western Theater.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Fight in NC

In Lenoir Co, North Carolina on December 14th 1862 the Battle of Kinston was fought.

A Union force lead by General John G Foster headed out from New Bern, North Carolina, with orders to destroy the railroad at Goldsborough, North Carolina. They were met near the Kinston Bridge by a brigade under the command of Confederate General Nathan Evans. However the Confederates were outnumbered and had to pull back in the direction of Goldsborough.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fighting Over the Mountain

Forces lead by Confederate Colonel Edward Johnson occupied the summit of Allegheny Mountain in Pocahontas Co,Virginia [now West Virginia] on December 13th 1861, to defend the Staunton Parkersburg Pike.

On the morning of December 13th 1861, Union troops under the leadership of Brigadier General Robert Milroy attacked the Confederates holding the pass. With each side maneuvering for advantage, the fighting went on through out the morning. The Union troops were finally repulsed by a artillery battery and Milroy’s men retreated to Green Spring Run near Cheat Mountain. There were an estimated 137 Union, and 146 Confederate casualties.

The end of the year found Confederate Colonel Edward Johnson with five regiments still in Camp Allegheny on the mountain top, were they suffered through the winter weather until April 1862.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Youngest In West Point

In Philadelphia PA on December 3rd 1826 George B McClellan was born.

George Brinton McClellan was the Major General of the Army of the Potomac from Nov 1861 to March 1862. He played an important role in creating the organized and well-trained army that became the Union force. He was the son of Dr George and Elizabeth Steinmetz [Brinton] McClellen. He was the third of five children born to the couple. Gen McClellan first attended University of PA in 1840 at the age of 13, but two years latter decided his goal was military service. With the help of a letter written to President John Tyler by his father, some rules where changed and he was allowed to enter West Point at the age of 15. He graduated in 1846 the second in his class. After his term of military service he entered politics, running as a Democrat in the 1864 Presidential election against Lincoln. He was finally elected to the Governor of New Jersey in 1877. George McClellan died October 29th 1885 in Orange,NJ.

For further reading

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Burning New York

Eight Confederate operatives tried to burn New York City on November 25th 1864.

It was near the end of the war when the “Confederate Army of Manhattan” hatched a plan to make their way from Canada into New York City, with the plan to overwhelm the city’s fire fighting force. November 25th was a Friday night, and the eight southerns tried to start fires at PT Barnum’s Museum, nineteen hotels and a theater. The fires were quickly put out, or failed to start all together. Seven of the eight escaped, except for Robert Cobb Kennedy who was caught in January of 1865 in Detroit while trying to get into Richmond,VA from Canada. He was tried, found guilty and executed March 25th 1865 at Fort Lafayette in New York

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Part of Minnesota's Best

On November 23rd 1861 the Minnesota 2nd Sharpshooters were organized in St Paul, Minnesota. These men were mustered in to Union service in March of 1862, and moved to Washington DC April 21 - 26. They found themselves assigned to duty with the 1st Minnesota Infantry [when they were known as Company “L”] and were with them at the Gettysburg.

This unit saw service at New Bridge May 24th 1862, Hanover Court House May 27-29, Richmond June 25-July 1, Peach Orchard, Allen's Farm, and Savage Station June 29, White Oak Swamp and Glendale June 30, Malvern Hill July 1 and August 5, Harrison's Landing, Alexandria August 16-28, Centerville August 30, they covered Pope's retreat to Washington, D.C., September 1-2, Chantilly and Flint Hill September 1, Vienna September 2, Maryland Campaign September 6-22, Battles of South Mountain September 14, Antietam September 16-17, Harper's Ferry September 22, and duty there until October 30, reconnaissance of Charlestown October 16-17, Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15, In 1863 they were at the Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6, Franklin's Crossing April 29-May 2, Battle of Maryes Heights, Fredericksburg May 3, Salem Heights May 3-4, Haymarket June 25, Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 1-3, Pursuit of Lee to Manassas Gap, Va., July 5-24. At Kelly's Ford, Va., July 31-August 15, they were detached for duty in New York during draft disturbances August 15-September 16, Bristoe Station October 14, Rappahannock November 7-8, Kelly's Ford until November 26, Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2, Camp at Stevensburg. In 1864, Campaign from the Rapidan to the James River May 3-June 15, Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7; Spotsylvania May 8-12; Spotsylvania Court House May 12-21; North Anna River May 23-26. On line of the Pamunkey May 26-28. Totopotomoy May 28-31. Cold Harbor June 1-12, Petersburg June 16, 1864, to March 19, 1865. The men who were left mustered out March 19, 1865 most were transferred to 1st Minnesota Battalion Infantry.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

First Fight For the Sea

The Battle of Griswoldville; the first battle fought during Sherman’s March to the Sea occurred on November 22nd 1864.

Confederate Major General Joseph Wheeler was leading a detachment of cavalry on the morning of November 22nd 1864 when they engaged the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry on Gordon Road. The 9th charged, driving the Rebels back about mile and across a creek. Here the Confederates regrouped and made an advance on the Union 9th and the 5th Kentucky Cavalry. At this time the Union Cavalry was joined by Brigadier General Charles Walcutt’s Infantry. The Infantry was able to push the Confederates back through Griswoldville.

At this point command of the Union soldiers fell to Brigadier General Charles R Woods. He took up position at the edge of the woods on the Duncan farm, with an open field to his front. At about 2pm Wheeler’s cavalry along with Brigadier General Pleasant J Philips’ Georgia militia and a battery of artillery attacked. The Rebels advanced reaching a ravine about seventy-five yard from Walcutt’s position, under heavy canister fire. They tried to turn the in the Union flanks, but failed having to retreat into the ravine, from which they withdrew after darkness fell.

There were an estimated 712 casualties [62 Union and 650 Confederate], including General Walcutt who was wounded in the first part of the engagement.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Ivys

On the 8th of November 1861 in Floyd Co, KY the Battle of Ivy Mountain [aka Ivy Creek or Ivy Narrows] was fought.

The Confederates under Col John Stuart Williams were in Kentucky recruiting. They were running short on ammunition while at Prestonsburg,KY and so went to replenish their supply at Pikeville,KY. The Union General William “Bull” Nelson started out from Prestonsburg with a large number of troops in the attempt to intercept the Rebels. Col Williams hoping to gain time to evacuate to Virginia, sent out a force of cavalry to meet the Union force.

The two opposing forces came together northeast of Pikeville in-between Ivy Creek and Ivy Mountain. The Confederates surprised the Federal soldiers at a narrow point in the road, firing upon the bottled up ranks. During lulls in the fighting the Rebels felled tree into the road and burnt bridges, to slow up the movement of Gen Nelson’s men. With night coming, the obstruction, and a rain beginning to fall the Union troops settled into camp for the night. Col Williams used the time to retreat into Abingdon,VA.

For further reading I recommend

Friday, November 7, 2008

The First Test of Leadership

General Ulysses S Grant’s first test in Civil War combat came on November 7th 1861 in Mississippi County, Missouri at the Battle of Belmont.

Grant sailed from Cairo, Illinois to make a demonstration on the river fortress at Columbus, Kentucky held by the Confederates on November 6th 1861. He learned the next day that the Confederates had crossed the river to Belmont, Missouri. At about 8:30 on the morning of November 7th 1861, the Union force disembarked about three miles north of Belmont, where they would be out of range of the batteries at Columbus. They marched into town and formed a battle line in a cornfield about a mile out of town. The battle line consisted of the 22nd, 31st, 30th, 27th Illinois, the 7th Iowa and a company of cavalry. The Confederate battle line was formed on a low ridge to the northwest of the Belmont camp, and was made up of the 12th, 22nd, 21st, 13th Tennessee and 13th Arkansas Infantry under General Gideon Pillow.

After a morning of back and forth fighting, the Confederate line began to collapse. What began as an orderly retreat, became panic when Union guns started bombing the retreating troops. The 31st IL sent in a large volley killing many of the Confederate soldiers. Grant stayed to the front, leading his troops even having a horse shot out from under him. After the battle in order to regain control of his troop who were plundering the Confederate camp, Grant ordered it set on fire. In the smoke and confusion several wounded men in some of the tents were accidentally burnt to death.

The Confederates claimed the victory at Belmont, which was a rather inconclusive battle, and of no real strategic importance. The losses where 641 Confederate to the Unions 607 casualties.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Last Confederate

The last Confederates surrendered on November 6th 1865, the CSS Shenandoah which had circumnavigated to globe.

The CSS Shenandoah began life on the River Clyde in Scotland where she was designed as a British transport. The Government of the Confederacy bought her in 1864, and she sailed out of London on October 8th of that year. The ship and her crew went out to intercept ships on the West Coast, Latin America, and in the Far East. It wasn't until August 1865 that the crew of the Shenandoah learned from a British ship that the Civil War had ended four months earlier.

The HMS Donegal excepted what would be that last surrender of the Civil War from Captain James I Waddell of the CSS Shenandoah. She had been at sea for one year, and 17 days, and traveled 58,000 miles, having the honor of flying the Confederate flag for the first and only time around the globe.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Skirmish at Island Mound

The first engagement by African-American troops during the Civil War occurred on 29 th October 1862 at Island Mound in Missouri.

Captain James M Williams formed a regiment out of former slaves from Missouri and Arkansas in Kansas, even before President Lincoln declared the Emancipation Proclamation. In August 1862 these men became the First Kansas Colored Volunteers. They weren’t mustered into the US service until January 13th 1863, but were armed with Austrian and Prussian muskets.
On October 27th the 1st Kansas Colored were part of the force sent to Bates County,MO to break up a guerrilla force located near the homestead of John Toothman. Their scout located a large party of Confederate’s serving under Bill Truman and Dick Hancock, with the Missouri State Guard under Colonel Jeremiah “Vard” Cockrell. The Union finding a larger force than expected, fortified their position with fence rails, calling their location “Fort Africa”. The second day passed with both sides sending out skirmishers.

By the 29th the Union troops were running low on ration. Skirmishers were sent out to create a diversion, so that a party could out and forage. While the Kansas men were eating the foraged food, the Rebels set a fire to the south of camp. The Union men set a back fire to keep the original fire form reaching camp. The Union forces sent out John Six-Killer a Cherokee scout and his slaves that had enlisted with him. They were to move just beyond the fire, remaining in sight of camp. They were drawn out into a skirmish and advanced out of sight. A second party under Lieutenant Joseph Gardner were dispatched to Six-Killer’s aid, but soon were also engaged out of sight. The Battle continued to grow in size. Union casualties were eight killed [1 white officer, 6 blacks, and the Cherokee John Six-Killer], and eleven wounded. The Rebels lost about 30 men. The 1st Kansans Colored Volunteer would become the 79th US Colored Troops on December 13th 1864.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Second Time

Major General James G Blunt’s Union cavalry caught up to Major General Sterling Price’s Confederate cavalry at about three pm on the October 28th 1864 in Newtonia,MO. The rebel force was retreating after its foray into Missouri, when it made a rest stop about two mile south of the town. The Federal army spotted Price’s supply train on the Cassville road. This would become the second battle of Newtonia.

The Union’s 16th Kansas and 2nd Colorado formed two lines and charged the fleeing supply train. The skirmishers that the Confederate sent out were in no condition at this point of the war to put up much of a resistance, and were soon push back. General Joseph Shelby brought in his “Iron Brigade”, he road to the front, dismounted and lead the attack that flanked the smaller number of Union troops, pushing them back into a cornfield on the Matthew H Ritchey property. The fighting continued here until Federal reinforcements and cannon under General John B Sanborn showed up, causing the Rebels to retreat at nightfall. By the next morning Price and his men had retreated across the prairie and into Indian Territory.

Although this was a ruff fight the casualties were light. The Union side lost about 400 soldier and the Confederates 250.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

He Hoped the Slaves Would Rise Up

On October 16th 1859 perhaps the first shot of the Civil War was fired by twenty-two men, five of whom were black.

The abolitionist John Brown led a group of 21 men; five of whom were black, on this date in 1859 against the Arsenal in Harper’s Ferry,VA [now located in WV]. John Brown hoped to use the weapons that would be captured to begin a slave revolt in South. The raid began that night when a free black man named Shepherd, who worked for the B & O Railroad as a night baggage porter was shot. The sound woke Dr John Starry at about 1 am.  Starry walked from his home to investigate the noise and was confronted by the raiders. Starry stated that he was a doctor, but that he could do nothing more for Shepherd, Brown’s men let him go. The Doctor went straight to the livery, took a horse and rode to Charleston,VA to alert people of the raid.

John Brown and his men found themselves surrounded by local militia and angry citizens. They took up refuge in a building adjacent to the Armory known as the Engine House. Brown's group had taken 60 hostages, mostly prominent people from Harper’s Ferry. The Secretary of War requested assistance of a unit of United States Marines, A unit of 86 led by Lieutenant Israel Green was sent. In need of an officer to lead this force, non other than Colonel Robert E Lee who was on leave near by, was assigned the job, with Lieutenant J E B Stuart as his aide-de-camp. These Marines arrived on the 18th, and after trying to negotiate with Brown, the Engine House was stormed with most of the raiders killed or captured. [9 to 12 {the numbers differ} of the raiders were killed, including two of the black men and two of John Brown’s sons]

John Brown was seriously wounded. He was taken to Chalestown,VA [now WV] were he was tried for treason, convicted and hung on December 2nd 1859.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, Oh My

On October 15 1864 while on a march across Missouri, Major General Sterling Price sent a detachment of men to take a Federal storehouse located in Glasgow, Missouri.

Glasgow, Missouri was said to hold a depot of weapons, and supplies, and on the morning of October 15th 1864, a combined unknown number of Confederate mounted infantry, cavalry, and artillery attacked the town. With the artillery firing and rebel troops advancing on Glasgow, the Union troops there, numbering about 800 strong fell back to fortifications located on Hereford Hill.  Here they formed a line of defense. Union Colonel Chester Harding became sure that his line could not withhold another attack, and he surrendered around 1:30 in the afternoon. Harding’s men had destroyed some of the stores, but the Confederates left town three days latter with rifles, overcoats and horses. This victory gave Price’s men a much needed boost in morale.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not Hill's Finest Day

October 14th 1863 found General Robert E Lee’s soldiers destroying the Orange and Alexandria Railroad.

Confederate General Ambrose Powell Hill’s Corp stumbled onto a couple of retreating Corps of Union forces near the Bristoe Station, that he believed was the end of Union General George Gordon Meade‘s army. Hill reinforced his line, but still didn’t make any ground against Union troops. The Union army was withdrawing toward Manassas, with Meade carefully protecting his western flank. Lee’s offensive at Bristoe had petered out, with Meade well entrenched and the Confederates running low on supplies. Lee pulled back slowly toward the Rappahannock River and tore up the Orange and Alexandria Railroad as they left the area. For the Confederate forces it was a costly battle, with their losses being 1,300 to the Union’s 546. Hill lost standing with his commanding officer after battle with responsibility for the high losses of men being placed on him.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Staying Out of Sight

J.E.B. Stuart finding himself cut off by retreating Federal troops on October 13, 1863, hid in a ravine until the Union soldiers moved on.

After Gettysburg the Confederate army retreated behind the Rapidan River. The Union advanced steadily. On October 13, 1863 Gen JEB Stuart along with Gen Fitzhugh Lee [nephew of Gen Robert E Lee] and Gen Lunsford Lindsay Lomax’s Brigade had a run in with the rearguard of the Federal 3rd Corps near Auburn,VA. They concealed themselves in a wooded ravine, until the Union force had pasted.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Custer Fell Back

General George Custer was attacked at Brock’s Gap on October 6th 1864 by a force of Confederate cavalry under the command of Colonel Thomas L Rosser .

Brock’s Gap is located in the Shenandoah Valley, and in the fall of 1864 the area was a hot prize between the two armies. Union General Philip Sheridan was burning his way down the valley, hitting farms, towns and crops in the field. The soldiers of the “Laurel Brigade" under the command of Rosser, wished to remove the threat of these troops. They caught up with Sheridan’s rear, being lead by Custer on October 6th 1864 near Brock’s Gap. Custer was able, with the help of artillery to hold a hill, until dark fell and Custer’s men fell back.


Thursday, October 2, 2008


On October 2nd 1864 the First Battle of Saltville by regular and home guard Confederate units against Union troops that included black cavalry.

Saltville,VA had an important salt works. The battle began on Sunday morning that was cold and foggy. Confederate trenches completely ringed the town’s hills. From this vantage point the Rebel troops were able to hold off Union advances. The Battle was a Rebel victory, but was marred by the killing of captured and wounded black troops.

These are good web sites for more info

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Gold Took Her Down

Rose Greenhow was a heroin of the Confederacy,  she drowned  October 1st 1864, while trying to get away from a grounded ship with $ 2,000 in gold.

Maria Rosatta O’Neal was born 1817 in Port Tobacco,Maryland. She received the nick name Wild Rose at an early age. Her father John O’Neal was killed by one of his slaves when she was young, leaving her mother Eliza with a cash poor farm to manage. To help with finances, Rose was sent to live in Washington,DC with an Aunt who ran a boarding house. She married Dr Robert Greenhow in 1835, and was the toast of Washington society.  They were blessed with four daughters.

As a member of Washington’s high society Rose traveled in important political, and military circles. These connections allowed her to become a top Confederate Spy. She passed information to General PGT Beauregard regarding the Union plans for the First Battle of Manassas, perhaps changing the out come of the day. She was arrested in Aug of 1861 by Allan Pinkerton, and transferred to the Old Capitol Prison in January. Even while in the prison Rose was able to get and send information to the Confederate government. In May of 1862 Rose and her 8 year old daughter were deported to Richmond,VA.

Rose spent 1863 and 1864 in Europe, traveling through France and Britain raising sympathy for the Confederacy among European aristocrats. While in London Mrs. Greenhow wrote a book about her time in prison, which sold well in England. In September of 1864 she headed home on the “Condor”; a blockade runner, carrying $2,000 in gold sewn into her dress for the Confederacy. The ship was run aground near Wilmington, North Carolina October 1st 1864, and Rose was drowned while trying to escape in a rowboat.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lincoln Kidnapping Conspirator Dies

On September 21 1906 one of the last of the Lincoln conspirators died. Samuel Bland Arnold was involved with other in a plan to kidnap the President and hold him for the exchange of Confederate prisoners. Mr. Arnold along with John Wilkes Booth, David Herold, Michael O’Laughlen and other tried two times to kidnap Lincoln; planning to take him to Richmond VA, but failed when his schedule changed. When the prisoner exchange began again in 1865 Arnold dropped out of the conspiracy.

Than on April 14th 1865 Booth murdered President Lincoln. Samuel Arnold was arrested on April 17th, he confessed to his role in the kidnapping plan, but denied that he was involved in the assignation. He was tried, found guilty and placed in prison at Fort Jefferson on a sentenced of life. In 1869 President Andrew Johnson pardoned him along Samuel Mudd, Michael O’Laughlen, and Edmund Spangler who had been sentenced at the same time.

He returned to Fort Jefferson in 1898 to take photos of the prison [unfortunately these photos have not survived]. Just before his death Arnold wrote an article for the “Baltimore American” about in imprisonment. He is buried in Baltimore,MD at the Green Mount Cemetery. After his death the only John Surratt was left alive out of the conspirators.

For information about Samuel Bland Arnold try these web sites

Saturday, September 20, 2008

General Godwin

Confederate Brigadier General Archibald Godwin was killed on September 20th 1864 during the 3rd Battle of Winchester.

General Godwin was the son of Jonathan and Julia [Campbell]Godwin, and was born in 1831 in Nansemond Co,VA. When he was 19 he followed the gold fever to California, and went on to build a nice fortune in mining, cattle, real estate and timber. In 1860 he lost the Democratic nomination for California Governor by just one vote.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861 Godwin moved backed to Virginia. He began his military career as the Assistant Provost Marshal in charge of Libby Prison, and the task of constructing the prison in Salisbury, North Carolinia. Godwin was at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and took part under Colonel Isaac Avery in the assault on Cemetery Hill in July 2nd 1863. Colonel Avery was wounded and Godwin took over the command, until November 7th 1863 when he was captured. When he was exchanged in 1864 he was promoted to Brigadier General and put in charge of what had been Hoke’s Brigade.

He had gotten a reputation as being cruel to Union POW’s. There was some talk after the war of trying Godwin for war crimes, until the Federal government found out he was dead.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The River Town

Paducah, Kentucky is located at the mouth of the Tennessee River, and was a strategic point for Union supplies along the Ohio, Mississippi, and Tennessee River systems.

In a response to the Confederate’s occupation of Columbus, Kentucky, Union General Ulysses S Grant’s forces took the town on September 6th 1861, in a bloodless takeover. To protect the town the Union troops built Fort Anderson. Due to Paducah’s location it played a important role in the Western Theater during the Civil War.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sherman in Atlanta

On September 5, 1864 Gen William Tecumseh Sherman arrived in Atlanta, Georgia, the first step toward the long march to the sea.

The Union Army began the long continuous artillery shelling of the city of Atlanta, Georgia on August 9th 1864. This continued until the September 2nd 1864 when the Mayor of Atlanta surrendered the city to Colonel John Coburn. Two days after Sherman arrived in Atlanta, he issued an ordered for the inhabitants of the city to leave, for their own safety. From this time through November, Sherman’s forces remained in the city, defensively holding it against John B Hood’s troops.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thunderbolt of the Confederacy

General John Hunt Morgan was killed on the 4th of September 1864 while trying to escape Union troops.

Morgan was born Jun 1, 1825 in Huntsville,AL to Calvin Morgan, the oldest in a family of 10. In 1831 the family moved to Lexington,KY.  John began his military career in 1846 when he enlisted in the Army as a cavalry private during the Mexican-American War.

At the beginning of the Civil War he raised the 2nd KY Cavalry Regiment, and was made their Colonel. Morgan and his men were at the Battle of Shiloh. He was promoted to Brigadier General on Dec 11, 1862 following his great sweep through Kentucky, where he captured 1200 Federal soldiers.

Morgan led his troops in an effort to distract Union forces on what is known as “The Great Raid of 1863” or the “Calico Raid” through southern Indiana and Ohio, farther north than any other Rebel force would advance during the war. It came to an end for him when about 700 of his men were captured trying to cross the Ohio River on the 19th of July. He lasted a bit longer before having to give up near Salineville,Ohio on the 26th, but the Federals didn’t keep the intrepid John Morgan long. In Nov he and six of his officers dug their way out of their cells, and than ascended a wall using bed sheets.

He was killed during a Union raid on Greeneville,TN, shot in the back by an ex-Confederate soldier. Many believed he was murdered so that he wouldn’t escape from Union prison a second time, but it seems more likely that he was shot simply because he refused to halt.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Other Civil War

While the war was going strong in the East, there was another war beginning in the West; the Indian Wars which would continue for the next 3 decades. On September 3rd 1863 the Battle of White Stone Hill took place. [This is located about 23 miles southeast of Kulm in Dickey Co,ND]

The Sioux Chief Inkpaduta and US Commander Brigadier General Alfred Sully were the two principal leaders, in the battle. Gen Sully entered the Dakota Territory as part of a military mission to punish those Native Americans who were involved in the 1862 Indian uprisings in Minnesota. The 6th Iowa Cavalry led by Col Albert House, came on a camp of Yankton, Dakota, Hunkpapa, and Sihasapa Lakota containing about 400 lodges, at about 3 on the afternoon of the 3rd. They informed Gen Sully who brought up his men to surround the camp. A battle broke out, with the Sioux eventually being overwhelmed. There were about 750 Indian casualties mostly women and children, and 72 US Soldiers. Sully’s men completely destroyed the camp, probably causing many more deaths during the long up coming winter.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The King of Steel Dies

Andrew Carnegie died 11 August 1919

Andrew Carnegie was born in 1835 in Dunfermline, Scotland. His family moved to Pittsburgh in 1848. It was there at the age of 14 that he became a telegrapher for the Pittsburgh Telegraph Office. While working there he came to the attention of Thomas A. Scott, the Superintendent of the Western Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

When the Civil War started in the spring of 1861, Carnegie was appointed by Scott to Assistant Secretary of War to Superintendent of the Military Railways and the Union Government's telegraph lines in the East. Andrew Carnegie helped open the rail lines into Washington and rode the locomotive which pulled the first brigade of Union troops into Washington. Under Carnegie’s organization, the telegraph was extended, becoming efficiently useful to the Union cause. He would later boast that he was "the first casualty of the war" when he gained a scar on his cheek from working with telegraph wire. During the Civil War, Carnegie invested $40,000 in oil in Venango Co,PA . Carnegie stayed off the battlefield during the war by paying his cousin Dale Carnegie $850 to serve in his stead.

When the war ended he left the Pennsylvania Railroad to devote his attention to the manufacture of steel. By the 1880s, he was America's king of steel.

For more information see these web sites

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ford's Theater

On August 10th 1932 Ford's Theater was transferred to the National Park Service .

Ford’s Theater is famous because on the 14th of April 1865 John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln. The building started its life as the First Baptist Church 1833. In 1861 John Thomas Ford leased the building and he immediately began the work of turning the church into a music hall. Than on December 30, 1862 fire destroyed the theater, but Mr. Ford was undaunted, the cornerstone for the new theater was laid February 28, 1863, and the first performance took place August 27, 1863.

The Federal Government seized the theater during the investigation of the President’s shooting and the trials that followed. John Ford was even imprisoned after the assassination for about a month [he was acquitted]. After the sentencing and hanging of Booth‘s conspirators, the Government gave Ford permission to reopen the theater. He received threats that the building would be burned down if he opened, so once again the War Department closed it. In August 1865 the War Department began converting the theater into a three-story office building. In 1866 the theatre was bought from Ford for $100,000 by the Federal Government. In 1893 the front part of the building collapsed, killing 22 and injuring another 68 clerks. Some people began to believe the building was cursed.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Stonewall Trys to Draw his Sword

On August 9 1862 Gen Thomas J “Stonewall” Jackson and Maj Gen Nathaniel Bank meet in Culpeper County Virginia, and began the battle of Cedar Mountain [aka Slaughter’s Mountain, and Cedar Run]

During the first part of August, Pope marched south with the objective of capturing the railroad junction at Gordonsville,VA. The Federals gained an early advantage. The 22,000 Confederates engaged came dangerously close to defeat at the hands of the smaller, but aggressive force of about 12,000 Federals. With the Confederate line in danger of collapsing, Gen. Jackson rallied the troops. He attempted to brandish his sword; however, he tryed to draw it, he found it rusted in its scabbard. A Confederate counterattack led by A.P. Hill repulsed the Federals and won the day. After the battle Gen Jackson withdrew to meet Robert E. Lee, and begin the campaign leading to the battle of Second Manassas, Stonewall Jackson never again held the field as an independent commander. This was also where Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, saw her first field duty.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Governor Frees His Slaves

145 years ago on the 8th of August 1863 Andrew Johnsons, the military Governor of Tennessee freed his personal slaves. Beginning as early as the 1870’s, the day was celebrated by African American’s Tennessee as a holiday.
At the beginning of the war, Johnson was a Senator from Greeneville,TN. He was the only southern Senator not to resign upon secession. In 1862 Abraham Lincoln appointed Johnson military governor of Tennessee, with the instructions to re-establish the state to the Union; maintaining peace and security pending restoration of civil government. Johnson did a good job under trying circumstances.
For more information see the following web sites,1406,KNS_364_4900392,00.html

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Hatfield - McCoy Feud

On August 7, 1882, Ellison Hatfield was mortally wounded, continuing the escalation of the Hatfield /McCoy feud which began 17 years earlier with the killing in 1865 of returning Union soldier Asa Harmon McCoy, by a Confederate group called the "Logan Wildcats," among whom Devil Anse Hatfield was a leading member.

At an election day gathering in Kentucky, Ellison Hatfield was stabbed 26 time and than shot by three members of the McCoy family. Ellison died two day latter.